Publication Date

Summer 2014

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

Abstract

The purpose of this research was to evaluate the effectiveness of the Healing for Educational Achievement Resource Team (H.E.A.R.T.). H.E.A.R.T. is a committee of staff at a middle school in Dorchester. Dorchester is a violence hotspot in Boston, MA, and students in such areas need to heal from traumas while meeting academic requirements. In order to meet their students’ needs and achieve their goals, schools need to practice trauma informed care. H.E.A.R.T. represents a staff-driven effort to meet student needs and establish trauma informed care. H.E.A.R.T.’s effectiveness was evaluated through surveys and interviews of committee members, interviews of the school’s administration, and an interview of H.E.A.R.T.’s facilitator, as well as through researcher participation in the committee. The findings identified strategies for success such as: clear goals, hard work, and the use of action teams to work on multiple projects simultaneously. Areas of improvement were identified as: communication with administration and other school committees; building relationships with community organizations in order to form collaborations; and keeping goals clear. H.E.A.R.T.’s impact in its first year was limited to the students who participated in its interventions and the staff in the committee.

The findings indicate that beginning this work for trauma informed care is slow and challenging and that the strategies and learnings from this start-up year can be used to benefit all students and staff. H.E.A.R.T.’s strategies and learnings could be used to benefit their whole school. The findings correspond with theories and other research, which indicate that H.E.A.R.T.’s work could be adapted to benefit other schools.

Disciplines

Counseling | Educational Sociology | Inequality and Stratification | Junior High, Intermediate, Middle School Education and Teaching | Place and Environment | Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation | Social Welfare | Urban Studies